Dulux and Assignment Group had a lesson in te reo Māori after facing criticism for mispronouncing place names in a new ‘Dulux Colours of New Zealand’ campaign before re-recording it.
The ad watches as a couple tour New Zealand in search of the right colour to paint their kitchen, and inspiring locations include Okarito, Opononi, Alexandra and Hot Water Beach.
It follows on from the ‘Big Decisions’ video, that launched four years ago with the couple choosing colours for their living room. After a tough decision between Pencarrow and Sandfly Point, it finished with a suggestion that the next room would be the kitchen.
Dulux describes the initial ad as “hugely well-liked” when explaining to YouTube viewers why it’s brought back the colour-loving couple, however, this latest spot didn’t go down quite so well when it was initially rolled out.
A week into going live, people were reaching out to Dulux to point out the error in the pronunciation.
One YouTube commenter described the previous ad as a “cringing exercise in mispronunciation” while a Facebook commenter called it a ‘lesson on the “butchery of a taonga”.
Pead PR manages the press office and social media accounts for Dulux and its managing director, Becky Erwood, says the sentiment was one of disappointment and a missed opportunity to champion the Māori language and its relationship to the places featured.
“We’d recently launched the Huawei P10 that came with Te Reo as a language feature to which we had witnessed overwhelmingly positive feedback from both Māori and non-Māori communities,” she says.
“We, therefore, felt that Dulux had a really important role to play in championing the te reo language through the Dulux Colours of New Zealand.”
Assignment’s Philip Andrew (aka Duster) says it was no easy task to re-record as the talent had to return to the studio to record the names correctly before it was combined with the images.
But from a creative point of view, the effort was worth it as Assignment wanted the work to be as authentic as possible, while Dulux has received a positive response on social media for the correction.
“It’s a really good example of being prepared to accept that you didn’t get it right the first time but you are very up for changing it,” says Andrew.
Dulux marketing manager Hadley Vaughan adds that it understands how important it is to get it right which is why it decided to re-record.
“We recognise and regret that we did not get the te reo Māori pronunciation of the place names correct in the initial advert. We apologise for any offence that may have been taken from the original advert, this was not our intention,” says Vaughan.
“Dulux has been part of the New Zealand community for over 80 years and the Dulux Colours of New Zealand range was created to celebrate the diversity and beauty of New Zealand landscape. There are over 1,000 colours in the range, several of them named after Māori place names. For the campaign to be truly authentic to New Zealanders we feel it is important that the pronunciation is correct.”
Throughout the process of re-recording the ad, Dulux worked with Pead PR to communicate openly with the Facebook community by acknowledging the errors and thanking them, and Erwood says the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.
“With such a unique campaign we believe the Dulux has the authority and profile to show great leadership and to stimulate others to follow their example.”
The conversation of pronunciation in the media world is particularly topical right now with Vodafone and Google now working through a list of New Zealand place names that are mispronounced by Google Maps.
Those names have been identified through the ‘Say it Tika’ campaign, produced by FCB, that’s asked Kiwis to drop pins on incorrectly pronounced te reo Māori place names on a dedicated online platform. The campaign was launched during Te Wiki O Te Reo Māori and in the first 10 days had more than 8,900 incorrectly pronounced places pinned.
And just last week, Briscoes received criticism in the StopPress comments for its Christmas ad in which Tammy Wells (aka the Briscoes Lady) mispronounced Kuratau and Lake Taupo.